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Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

My hubby and I have been known to spend three-day weekends out of town or at the very least exploring the town we live in. Since we live in Southern California, Labor Day weekend also means backyard barbecues with family and friends or trips to go shopping at the outlets. This weekend was a little bit different though.

The last three days were spent helping my brother, Jules, move to his new apartment in Pasadena. For the last 2 & 1/2 years, my brother has been my apartment/house-mate. He and I have both helped each other stave off feelings of homesickness as we both successfully recreated the happy home life we had in Manila. But since he got a job in Pasadena, his commute to and from Torrance has been pretty bad. He spends between 2 & ½ to 3 hours a day in traffic. And has really felt the pressure of getting up extra early and getting home late at night. So last month he decided to get a place closer to work.

While I’m happy for my brother, I have to admit I’m actually pretty sad about his being away from us as well. Jules and I grew up in a very close-knit family. So despite our three year age gap, we are pretty close and get along quite well. I first arrived here in the States in 2001 and when he followed three years later, it was understood that we would live together and help each other out. No questions asked and honestly, I do not think either one of us would have had it any other way. The last three years, we’ve stayed in an apartment and then moved to our home here in Torrance, Jules and I have been thru a lot. His quiet and steadfast nature has always complimented my more outgoing and spontaneous one. Believe it or not, we have lived here together for three years, as adults, but I can not recall a time we both got into a serious fight!

I know it may seem strange to think that my fully grown (but still my baby) brother is living alone for the first time. But as I said, my family is extremely close and we all choose to live together rather than live on our own. None of us has really ever wanted to move out (can’t even recall a time when any of us ran away from home even as kids!), and I know for a fact that if I were still in Manila, I would most likely have lived with my folks up till the day I got married :)

And even now that I am married, I am constantly urging my sisters and brothers to move to the States and come live with us (I've been urging my folks as well but that's another story!). Luckily I am blessed with a hubby that understands and actually feels the same way.

So, I guess it’s normal for me to be a little choked up now that Jules is gone. Tonight is his first night at his place, and even if I was there earlier, I’ve already called him just to ask if he’s had dinner already. And even if Jules has been on several out of town trips and has spent many nights away from here, his not being here tonight is such a marked difference that even my hubby has commented that the house is quieter and feels just a wee bit more empty. But despite that, I am proud and happy for my brother and his independence.

The funny thing is my brother is spending the night here this Thursday (since our cousin, Jill, is arriving from Toronto and staying for a few days). He has also said he will be spending most of his weekends here in Torrance. So I guess I’ll just have to be a bit sad for a few days :)


jol said...

Did someone said "absence makes the heart grow fonder"? I guess that is how Jules and you feel after being together in your Torrance home for over two years. I thank you very much for taking care of him all these years and in a way prepare him well for his independence.

jml said...

Am both happy and sad. So very proud that Julian has finally spread his wings and is on his own. Many thanks Joanne for helping Jules prepare for this day of independence.

marc said...

I really admire how close your family is and it's something I want to have in the future! I look up to it.

jeff said...

good luck to jules. just make sure you continue visiting torrance on weekends.

jo, have been very busy and have thus been unable to check this site for a couple of weeks now. i have a comment for you on the entry on your new car. pls check.=)